Multipurpose/wrestling room gives additional opportunities to Perry students

Sean Cordy
The multipurpose/wrestling addition features turf as well as wrestling mats.

The doors to a bigger future are officially open for Perry.

After a year of construction, the industrial tech and multipurpose/wrestling room project is nearly complete. The Perry Community School District passed a $6.5 million bond referendum for the project in February of 2019. Ground was officially broken in August of 2019 and continued throughout the year. 

The finishing touches are being made to the new additions. The public will have a chance to see both spaces during an open house from 5-7:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 26 during parent-teacher conference night.

Multipurpose/wrestling room gives additional opportunities to Perry students

The multipurpose/wrestling room recently opened at the high school to give a world of opportunity to Bluejays and Jayettes. Rather than be spread thin across campus, Perry's wide range of extracurriculars have a new space to elevate their talents.

An addition attached to the high school, the indoor space features a long strip of turf that will allow seasonal sports like football and soccer to practice more precisely during the offseason. Even the band and dance teams will get use of the area. 

The multipurpose/wrestling addition features turf as well as wrestling mats.

The wrestling team will also get its share of minutes on the removable mats, getting quite the upgrade from the field house a half mile down the block. No more walks in the cold.

More than the distance causing issues, head coach Mark Weber pointed out how crowded the room became with both the middle and high school teams on the floor, bumping into each other at times. Add the short ceiling that interrupted some workouts and the new space boasts all kinds of advantages. Though one question mark remains.

"It won't have the same feel," Weber said. "Definitely in terms of heat and humidity. That was just a nice intensifier. But this one will get warm, it'll just be different than the old one. So I will definitely miss that one. The same thing happened when my high school opened a new room."

Such an upgrade also helps the wrestling team keep up with the changing landscape where more girls are signing up than ever before. Weber said he hopes to see more join the team this year, and now with the wrestling room attached to the school where every other team has fully equipped locker rooms, girls won't be relegated to changing in the bathrooms outside the original field house.

One of the locker rooms in the new multipurpose/wrestling addition.

Also getting more convenience of the space is the soccer team that for the first time has turf to practice on in sport in which artificial grass is becoming all the more popular. Gone are the days where the team is forced to practice on the gym hardwood that gives an unrealistic simulation.

"Everything in [the gym] is going to be a perfect bounce. But we play on more turf fields than gym floors," boys head coach Gary Overla laughed. "I think the kids will want to come in and play more often than not. 

Discussions have also started about utilizing the turf for offseason tournaments.

The same improvements can be said for football as the team continues to hone its abilities. Head coach Bryce Pierce has already started utilizing the turf to help his players focus on running form and starting positions to improve players' speed in small spaces. That goes beyond just football too, as activities director Scott Pierce continues his focus on the school's overall wellbeing and fitness through the strength and conditioning program he has spearheaded over the years.

The multipurpose/wrestling room features turf, along with wrestling mats.

"Our strength program whole-rounded is young. My first year we started bringing in kids, they were doing what we (as adults) were doing. They weren't doing what they should have been doing to better themselves as an athlete," Pierce said.

Now with more space, the fitness program can take a more holistic approach that helps with mobility as well as conditioning as opposed to pure strength training. That also helps usher in future Bluejays and Jayettes.

Pierce said he also has more envisioned for what the multipurpose room means for future programs. The district already has performance training incorporated for the elementary levels, and with this brand new space, Pierce hopes to further raise the level of enthusiasm.

Rather than have younger students visit on a regular basis, Pierce envisions a system that brings them to the campus once every two or three weeks to pique their excitement to be there on a regular basis like the athletes walking the halls today.

With so many options available, the school also needed to find a new way to manage the schedule. Reaching out to Google for assistance in creating a system through the cloud, Perry's teachers and coaches now have a streamlined system to help reserve time slots not only for the multipurpose area but also the library, gym, and other areas throughout the campus, making it easier than ever for Perry to act as the “One Team” motto.

The new multipurpose/wrestling addition is attached to the Perry High School.